Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saving Lubavitch

I saved all Lubavitch Yeshivos worldwide from closing down.
Sort of.
Here's what went down:
There may or may not be a group of guys that are modern orthodox and/or snags (I usually wouldn't use such terminology, but you'll see soon that I'll use even worse...) that decide whether a Yeshiva Gedola should be funded by the Government as a college, or something like that. And our Hanholoh explained to us that without the money, all yeshivos would close down!! (Note to Rohr or Leviav: If you guys are reading this, even though it is an amazing thing to give money for more and more chabad houses, don't forget the importance of education!!! Our yeshivos are constantly in lack of adequate funding!!!)
So for the whole Tomchei Tmimim system, they decided to visit Chovevei Torah (which, if you haven't guessed by now, is where I'm at).
Word on the street is that they went to Satmaar recently, supposedly intent on closing down their yeshivos, but weren't able to. And no matter how much they are against Satmaar, they absolutely despise Lubavitch, ('cause Anyone Who Is Anyone hates Lubavitch). These guys really wanted to close us down. (You didn't hear it from me, but someone even called one of them a Rasha MeRusha)
At least, that's what we were told. That this time it was really big, unlike other inspections they do. There sometimes are even Lubavitchers part of this group, but this time it was only one out of about 12(?).
So of course, we needed to tuck our shirts in and come to seder, in order to look like a normal yeshiva.
And this group walked around our yeshiva during a shiur, and then wanted to speak with some students.
They first were speaking with a bochur who didn't go on shlichus, but stayed to learn when he wants in zal. The actual student they got, in order to speak with, was none other than... me.
I didn't know this beforehand. Rabbi Weinfeld just called me out of shiur, sent me downstairs, and told me that I would be asked questions like: Where is the bathroom, where is your dormitory? to make sure I was really part of Yeshiva (they also thought about the idea of boosting our numbers a tad, but they didn't realize they wouldn't be given a bochur who doesn't go there...). It ended up being slightly more grueling, but how could he have known?
I'm not gonna say the guy's name, because if he ever googles himself (and with the way he walked and talked, I'm sure it's a few times daily), I don't want him seeing what I think about him.
Basically, I understood why a hanhala member calls him a Rasha. And it's why I called him a snag. You could tell he was extremely against Lubavitch. And maybe against all frum yeshivos. He himself is frum, and a professor of something.
He asked me basic enough questions, like about my seder for the whole day (I made sure to tell him I wake up at twenty to seven, to go to mikveh) and who my chavrusahs are, what shiurim I'm in, etc. He would ask about when I learn Rambam (and then say how it's impossible for anyone to finish a year and understand it). When I told him davvening could take an hour for shacharis, he was exasperated, and remarked that no wonder so many lubavitch bochurim go off the derech and into the streets. We spoke about my plans for shlichus, at which he went off on a tangent to express his concerns about shluchim in communities that barely learned anything in yeshivos... He asked me what, if any, papers my parents or I signed in order to come to yeshiva, and if I was registered still with L.A. He kept trying to trip me up, like asking if I signed papers here saying it was my third year in Chovevei, since it was my third year of Zal, but first year here....
But I was respectful, and showed a sense of humor when we spoke about my time in Los Angeles (he told me he's friends with the Rosh, and I should send my regards), and the difference in shiurim between the Rosh and R' Yisroel here.

Later that night, Rabbi Weinfeld told me the rest of the story.
After speaking to me and leaving yeshiva, he went to ULY's main office, near 770, to speak with Rabbi Glukowski, the head of the tomchei tmimim system. The first thing he asked was to see my grades. He had asked Weinfeld earlier, after speaking with me, and Rabbi Weinfeld had already memorized everyone's grades two weeks earlier in preparation for the inspection. This snag kept asking to see the documentation of everything that was told to him, to see if there were any holes in anyone's story. But Weinfeld was right, he found out, and he saw that my grades were indeed good. He asked what my father does for a living (to see if Weinfeld lied about that), also.
Rabbi Weinfeld was beaming when he told me all this. He said that this guy was extremely impressed with me, and they way I came off.
You can guess the rest- Yeshiva got the nod, and the funding, and all Yeshivas are safe for the time being..... all in a day's work.